THE National Federation of Sea Anglers launched its campaign to address the problems of monofilament gill nets, especially those set close inshore, at the Go-Fishing Exhibition at the NEC.

“Ask any sea angler what is the one issue that they would like the NFSA to achieve and the restriction on the use of gill nets would be top of the list,” said a spokesman.

“This is an important day for us, we are responding to all those anglers who have made their wishes clear – now it is their chance to support us and make their wishes become reality.”

The NFSA says a total ban from the recreational sea angler’s point of view would be ideal, but at the very least the use of gill nets should be better controlled.

Monofilament netting became available in the mid Seventies and is now used for a multitude of fisheries including bass mullet, pollack, cod, ling, turbot, brill, sole, rays, tope and dogfish.  Minimum mesh sizes are correlated to minimum landing sizes which for many species are set at below the size for sexual maturity.  

As a consequence, fisheries are becoming dependant on each year’s new stock with relatively few older fish surviving the sieving affect of the proliferation of netting.

“There is no doubt sea anglers seek larger fish and these are becoming increasingly rare,” added the spokesman.

“If fish stocks are not better protected, the greatest participation sport in the country will be seriously threatened and it will not pass from generation to generation.”